Today I delivered the following Member’s Statement at a sitting of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature which challenges Premier David Makhura to honour the memory of murdered whistleblower Babita Deokaran by acting decisively against the corruption she uncovered at Tembisa Hospital:
Babita Deokaran was murdered on 23 August last year.
Six people have been arrested and their trial is continuing, but we need to find out who ordered them to kill her.
The clearest indication came last week from a News24 investigation of her emails and WhatsApp messages.
These show that she feared for her life because she was stopping a surge of payments by the Tembisa Hospital to suspicious companies. These companies included three owned by senior ANC member Sello Sekhokho, who is currently the Treasurer-General of the ANC’s Ekurhuleni region.
You would have thought that the Gauteng Health Department would have done their own investigation of her emails and messages, but instead there appears to have been a cover-up.
Before her death, Deokaran requested the Chief Financial Officer Lerato Madyo to do a forensic audit of the Tembisa Hospital payments, but this never happened.
It appears that Madyo did not inform the Acting Head of Department about this request, and covered up what was happening at Tembisa Hospital.
It is more than a week now and the CFO has still not been suspended, and we hear no word from the Department about action to uncover corruption at Tembisa Hospital.
I am reminded of Premier David Makhura’s failure to immediately suspend or dismiss former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu when the deaths of Life Esidimeni patients became known after she replied to my questions in this House.
She remained Health MEC for more than four months before she was forced to resign after the devastating report by the Health Ombudsman.
And what is Premier Makhura doing about this now? His own office agreed with the appointment of CFO Madyo after the highest scoring candidate was disqualified for not meeting the requirements of the post.
The silence from the Premier and the Health MEC is deafening.
Babita Deokaran’s family are saying that she was failed by those in power.
Her death must not be in vain. The truth must come out no matter how discomfiting it may be to those who run this province.